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Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge
Ranked #8 of 35 Otavalo B&B and Inns
Reviewed 21 December 2011

This place was simply amazing at the tail end of a trip and I wish we'd had much more time. I plan to come back and highly recommend it.
Highlights:
* the DELICIOUS meals -- I'm stil thinking about the veggie lasagna
* the OWNERS -- delightful, fascinating, and incredibly hospitable people who will be friends for life
* the VIEWS -- worth getting up for sunrise over the volcanoes
* the STAFF -- amazing people who kept firewood in the stove and gourmet food on the table despite a power outage
* the LODGING -- beautiful houses that made me feel at home and peaceful. Didn't want to leave but there was so much more to explore.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank borabora67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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123 - 129 of 169 reviews

Reviewed 12 December 2011

We recently stayed at Ali Shungu - I did NOT want to leave. The lodging was wonderful, food was so delicious, and the service was outstanding. I cannot wait to go back - and next time I'm staying a lot longer!

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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Thank Kris S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 December 2011

We visited Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge at the end of our two week trip to Ecuador with the idea of relaxing and unwinding from our week in the Galapagos before we headed back to Seattle. It met and exceeded all expectations and I wish we could have stayed for several more days because it was so perfect. The living spaces are huge and comfortable, the food outstanding, the staff attentive and the owners are really interesting and fun. Frank offered guidance on our day's activities when asked and was the perfect travel guide! Margaret was so fun to meet and makes the most amazing jewelry (be sure to ask about it)! Our horse ride was interrupted by thunder and lightening but was very fun nonetheless and after the storm passed, leaving in its wake no electricity, the staff did not miss a beat in preparing a beautiful meal and seeing to all our needs. Most of the lodge is not electricity-based so hot showers were still available and the atmosphere enhanced. It was the perfect location to venture into many of the surrounding communities and then to return to relax and reflect on the day. There is so much natural beauty in the area. When I return to Ecuador, I will return here for as many days as I can fit in to enjoy more of the hiking trails and other nature-based experiences. The weaving and leather materials in the area, as many have noted, is wonderful.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank LAOLAO10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 December 2011

A quick 2 hour ride bus from Quito, Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge is the kind of place where you could hole up for days and be quite content.

We intended on staying two nights before moving on toward the central part of the country, but our plans quickly went out the door when we were taken by the lodge and its idyllic setting overlooking Otavalo. It is a place that you simply do not want to leave.

The accommodations are amazing—roomy guesthouses that are beautifully furnished, fully-equipped, and immaculately clean. Each has a wood-burning stove that’s kept stoked all day long.

The staff is friendly and attentive, and the owner, Frank, goes out of his way to ensure that you feel at home. His extensive knowledge of the area, its customs and quirks provide insights unavailable in any guidebook. And his ties to the community are a testament to his commitment to making a positive impact on the present and future of his neighbors.

Meals at Ali Shungu are part of the treat. With a strong emphasis on vegetarian, they are thoughtfully prepared, fresh and varied—and always delicious.

We loved the remoteness of the location, for its peace and serenity. Yet we knew a 10 minute taxi ride would put us in the heart of Otavalo.

Ali Shungu may be as close to perfection as you can get.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank nuvu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 November 2011

Perched atop a mountain above Otavalo and Lago San Pablo, Ali Shungu is a wonderful place to spend a weekend in front of the fire, walking the grounds, riding horses or dropping into Otavalo for the vibrant weekend markets.

Although we are not vegetarians, we found the vegetarian menu delicious for both breakfast and dinner.

Also, make sure you play fetch with the tireless Sarah, one of the owner's dogs. It can be several hours of entertainment.

We have stayed in a wide variety of haciendas in Ecuador over the past two years but Ali Shungu remains our favorite. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with family
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Thank teejayemm21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 November 2011

We stayed the last week of October 2011.

My wife and I arrived to Ali Shungu Mountain Lodge very tired after driving all the way from Mindo. We were very pleasantly surprised. Frank was very useful giving us directions to get there. The cabins are humonguous, very tastily decoraded and super clean. Flute Andean music was playing and the fireplace was sparkling with a very romanting fire.

The food was excellent and plenty, we had a little problem with a toilet and it was immeditedly resolved.

Overall very reasonable for the price, family enviroment, very safe and so reclusive, far away from the tourist trmoil of Otavalo. Still close to go to Cotacachi, Antonio de Ibarra and Otavalo itself.

Highly recommended. We have been visiting Ecuador twice a year and we are familiar with many places: Luna Runtun, Hacienda Cusin, Papallacta etc. But this place it always will be in our hearts.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Juan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2011

My husband and I, along with another couple, visited Ecuador for a week, prior to embarking on a week-long cruise of the Galapagos Islands. Our time at Ali Shungu was a most gloriously relaxing and peaceful respite from the hubub of Quito and the small stresses of living--ever so briefly--in an unfamiliar country. As has been said in many previous reviews, the casitas are commodious, beautifully designed, decorated with local art and handicrafts, and utterly charming. My husband and I had our own casita, as did our friends. The vistas from the large picture windows are dazzling--beautiful, green hillsides, and massive craggy volcanic peaks.

We stayed three nights, and I wish it had been more--a week would not be too long. Getting to Ali Shungu from Otavalo is not for the faint of heart. I implore you to let owner Frank arrange for your transport to the lodge. He refers to the "road" leading to Ali Shungu as his "moat." Certainly, no one would drive the narrow, rutted dirt road as part of a Sunday outing! When you arrive, Frank is there to greet you, along with canine mascots Sara and Paco. Frank jests that guests must agree to spend at least an hour daily throwing sticks for Sara, one of the friendliest, sweetest, most indefatiguable yellow labs on the planet--on ANY planet. Paco lacks the retriever gene, but is equally friendly and companionable.

Breakfast and dinner at the main house are included with the casita, and the meals are delicious. Margaret, Frank's wife and partner, prepares gourmet Ecuadorian cuisine nightly. Breakfasts always begin with delicious fresh fruit and juice, and truly sustain you until the evening meal. After dinner, Jose Maria would come round and light our wood stove for us, as the evening are cool at the +/- 10,000 ft. altitude enjoyed by Ali Shungu. Later in the evening he would deliver a most welcome hot water bottle which made trying to get to sleep with cold feet a nonissue.

We had minor issues with hot water one day, and the wifi was tempermental in our casita during our stay, although it worked well at the main lodge. This was more of an Ecuador infrastructure issue than anything else.

I could continue for paragraphs. Suffice it to say that all the glowing reviews below mine are accurate, and then some. We did not opt to ride horses, but we did hike around the property, and each morning we awoke to see our personal llama calmly grazing outside our bedroom window. Top that!

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank realjewell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge

Address: Imbabura, Otavalo 100450, Ecuador (Formerly Rancho Ali Shungu)
Region: Ecuador > Imbabura Province > Otavalo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 35 B&Bs / Inns in Otavalo
Price Range: £61 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Travelers enjoy the tranquility and beauty of Andean Mountains and Culture in our warm and spacious guesthouses, surrounded by 40 acres of private gardens and forests ...all just a few minutes from the world famous markets of Otavalo. ... more   less 

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